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from the mainland, making it a highly defensible island. on the city side of the moat, demarest found the earth built up into a long, steep incline. demarest: see how steep this is right now, how difficult to come up. it was probably originally almost vertical. and it would have been much more difficult if you had some maya up at the top hurling spears and rocks down on you. keach: the archaeologists think that for further protection there would have been a tall wooden fence on top of the embankment. demarest: this whole thing seems to almost like overkill. you know, the degree of defensive construction is beyond what you would have thought was necessary. i think it emphasizes how things by this point had fallen to pieces in this region. keach: demarest believes the moat and fortifications are evidence that the dos pilas empire was coming apart at the seams. demarest: the territory was more than double the size of a standard large maya kingdom. so administratively it was beyond the capability of normal maya political organization and military organization. keach: in a.d. 760, two of t
through power but through their authority to settle disputes, spearhead the common defense and control some land. they also gained enormous prestige by redistributing precious goods and by leading religious rituals. but the authority of the king suffered a critical blow in a.d. 738 when 18 rabbit was captured and beheaded by the ruler of a rival city. adjoining 18 rabbit's palace was a smaller structure, the only known building erected by his successor, king smoke monkey. some archaeologists think it was a council house where the last weakened kings shared power with competing lineage heads. today, workers sift through the remains of the building, seeking clues to the fate of the kingdom. did the death of one king end the evolution of the copan state ? to find out, other archaeologists broaden the search for evidence of power changes in the valley's lineage compounds. very near to the 9n-8 compound is a series of large unexcavated mounds. here, david webster and his team prepare to excavate. they will cut the brush that has grown on top of the buildings, and then attempt to clear away
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